On this International Human Rights Day, Migrante Canada, the Canada-wide alliance of Filipino migrant organizations, holds the Duterte regime accountable for the crimes it has committed against the Filipino people.
Migrante Canada fully supports the International Criminal Court in its objective to investigate the Duterte regime for its atrocities in its ongoing “war on drugs”. We strongly condemn the blatant red-tagging and rampant killing of activists and demand the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The agency’s funds, which have been corrupted through schemes like the Barangay Development Program, should be re-channeled to provide much needed public social services, particularly for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families.
Migrante Canada calls for the release of political prisoners. According to the Philippine human rights group Karapatan, there are 712 political prisoners languishing in Philippine jails, 489 of whom were arrested under Duterte. We also demand an end to the dangerous and unconstitutional Anti-Terror Law which is currently being challenged by 37 petitions before the Supreme Court.
Human rights are extremely entrenched in migration. Migrante Canada never fails to point out that the root causes of forced migration remain intact—imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. These forces are very prevalent in the current affairs in the Philippines. Backtracking on its promise to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Duterte regime did not only extend it but also entered into more military deals with the United States. Rodrigo Duterte also remains subservient to China especially in regard to the West Philippine Sea. National debt from massive failed programs such as the “Build, Build, Build” continues to skyrocket.
The Duterte regime is characterized by patronage politics and corruption. Duterte condones the corruption in the Department of Health and Philhealth. He enriches his cronies, as in the case of Dennis Uy. He promotes the reemergence of the Marcoses in national politics as exemplified by his attempt to revise history in allowing the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The Ferdinand Marcos, Jr – Sara Duterte tandem in the May 2022 elections is the classic example of the rule of dynasties and signals a continuation of the evils of the current regime. Their success at the polls will be a tragedy for the Filipino people and a continuation of widespread human rights violations. As Rodrigo Duterte nears the end of his term, and whoever wins the upcoming elections, Migrante Canada will remain vigilant against any attempt to shield Duterte from accountability and against any human rights violations committed against the people.
This harrowing situation in the Philippines and the poor governance of the Duterte regime affect millions of Filipino migrants around the world. The situation of the OFWs becomes more and more appalling. There is a criminal neglect of the OFWs with little to no support in times of extreme economic and public health crises. Many OFWs are not able to access government programs (e.g.,DOLE-AKAP). They remain to be treated as the regime’s “milking cows” through remittances and various forms of state exactions.
Migrante Canada stands with those who persistently oppose Duterte’s tyrannical rule and expose the human rights violations in the Philippines. At home and abroad, we join the workers and the peasants who have been fighting for national industrialization and genuine land reform, keys to achieving a just society and a lasting peace in the Philippines.
Fight against tyranny and dictatorship!
Never again, never forget!